CUC reports fuel leak at Lower Base


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. is repairing a fuel leak down at Lower Base, excavating the area and around and pooling out product oozing out of the damaged pipe, says acting executive director John Riegel yesterday.

CUC first noticed fuel emerging through a cut in pavement right near the Mobil Fuel Farm on Monday. CUC was pressurizing a pipeline down to a power plant in Lower Base.

Riegel said it was not a “major spill.” He could not provide how many gallons have leaked, but said at the end of day yesterday, on-site crew reported filling up a 55-gallon drum of fuel emerging from the leak.

That was only for the product left in the pipeline, Riegel noted, though, and not the fuel that already leaked. The pipeline was immediately depressurized when the leak was reported on Monday, according to Riegel.

“There was a leak emerging through a cut in the pavement. That’s how we knew there was a leak. We stopped pumping and started looking. We dug down to the pipe. And at the location we were excavating, there was no leak there so we just started chasing the pipe back, eventually we came across a little hole in the pipe,” Riegel told Saipan Tribune.

“[The] product is being washed from the pipe,” Riegel said. “They are pumping it out of the excavation [area] and putting it in barrels. The soil that we’ve excavated that’s contaminated we are setting aside. That will be cleaned and land-filled.

Riegel said this was a “high-priority” issue but the spill would not affect power generation, noting that they can still load up their tankers with fuel and truck it down to their power plant.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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